Frequently Asked Questions - Marriage

What information do I need to bring to obtain a marriage license? 
Marriage Licenses

How do I change my name after I get married?
Use your new name consistently and have your name changed on all important documents and papers. In some instances, you will be able to take your original marriage license to an agency and they will make copies. Other agencies will require that you obtain a certified copy of the marriage license. A certified copy can be obtained from the Clerk of Circuit Court in the county where the license was issued. The cost for a certified copy is $5.50.

I am a woman and I am planning to be married soon. Must I take my partner's name?
No. In Maryland, a woman has the legal right to keep her birth name.

May my partner and I both change our names to a hyphenated version of our two names or to a new name?
You can make either change. More men are changing their names for marriage. In Maryland, any person may choose any name after they are married, as long as s/he does so consistently and is not acting illegally.

I was married in another state/country. Can I register the marriage here?
A marriage that took place outside of Maryland is considered a "foreign marriage." You may register a foreign marriage with the Clerk of the Circuit Court for a fee. The document must be in English.

Do I have to obtain a license in the county where I live?
You must obtain a license issued by the Clerk for the county in which the ceremony is going to take place. (Family Law 2-401)

I applied for a marriage license. When does the license become effective? Does it expire?
The license becomes effective at 6 a.m. on the second calendar day after the license is issued (generally referred to as a 48 hour waiting period) and the marriage ceremony must take place within 6 months of the effective date.

Are same sex marriages valid to be performed in Maryland?
Yes. Please read the Civil Marriage Protection Act.

Are there certain degrees of relationships that are prohibited from marrying?
Yes. Any marriage performed in this State prohibited by Family Law 2-202 is void. Generally, marriages within 3 degrees of direct lineal consanguinity or within the first degree of collateral consanguinity are prohibited. (Consanguinity is defined as the relationship of persons of the same blood or origin. Direct Lineal Consanguinity is the relationship between persons who are directly descended or ascended from one another. Collateral consanguinity is the relationship between persons who have the same ancestor but do not descend or ascend from one another.)

According to Maryland Annotated Code Family Law 2-202, a man may not marry his: grandmother, mother, daughter, sister or granddaughter. He also may not marry his grandfather's wife, wife's grandmother, father's sister, mother's sister, stepmother, wife's mother, wife's daughter, son's wife, grandson's wife, wife's granddaughter, brother's daughter or sister's daughter. A woman may not marry her: grandfather, father, son, brother, or grandson. She also may not marry her: grandmother's husband, husband's grandfather, father's brother, mother's brother, stepfather, husband's father, husband's son, daughter's husband, husband's grandson, brother's son, sister's son, or granddaughter's husband.